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Old 06-14-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
blakesdad
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2
Thumbs down The economics of hybrid diapers is broken

Hi, we have been using disposable diapers for our 1-week old son. Looking at them, the sheer wastefulness is staggering: not only do we throw away a dozen diapers every day, but those diapers are usually only a little bit soiled in terms of both area dirtied and what they're soiled with (ie urine is not that big a deal).

So, we had this bright idea: use cloth diapers. But it quickly came up that we did not want to be burdened with washing endless poopy diapers just to be less wasteful.

A little research later, and I found the product I thought would solve both problems: hybrid diapers. Less waste, roughly the same amount of work, and - because you're buying a small insert instead of the whole diaper - lower cost. What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, hybrid diapers make no sense. Let's take a look at their sorted prices (diaperjunction.com):
Huggies disposable diapers: $.28 each
Flip Diaper inserts: $.31 each
Grovia Biosoakers: $.38 each
gDiaper Biodegradables: $.40 each

The kicker is, of course, that not only are the hybrid inserts more expensive, but there are also other costs, such as the original holding diaper which costs as much as 50+ disposables itself, plus the detergent, water, and other costs of actually using the hybrids.

Now, I ask you, why would I pay more for something which gives me less? Not only is the product literally less material and craftsmanship, but it offers less utility in that I would now be washing the holding diaper and doing the work of putting in and removing the insert, whereas the disposable you just toss. For the privilege of doing more work, and getting less product, I'm going to pay more? That is totally bonkers.

The economics of hybrid diapers are fundamentally flawed.

Cloth diapers, of course, over the long haul are cheaper by 90% than disposable. If you're willing to do all the poopy laundry for ~2 years and assign your labor and sensibility no value, that is. Hybrid diapers, however, are priced so irrationally it's now no surprise that I've never once seen them on the shelves in a store - why would any consumer buy them?

The answer of course is that the product is entirely targeted at "yuppies" and "greenies" and other hypothetical consumers who the businesses in question believe to be devoid of any money sense or who are willing to pay more just to get some vague sense of eased conscience. That's sad really, because as I said, I was initially interested in the product precisely because I am environmentally conscious and wanted to do the right thing. But being ripped off by some company because they think I'm foolish enough to whimsically part ways with my money is insulting.

Inserts should be $.15-.20 each, maximum. I'm looking forward to buying them at that time. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing what possible rational explanation there could be from someone who has actually bought some of these and doesn't consider them a poor deal.

Anyone care to defend this gross fleecing of not only the consumer, but also the planet, by incentivizing us to choose continuing purchase of wasteful diapers over enriching a corporation who believes we will pay them more profit to not have a guilty conscience?
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